State Fair Group Brings Experience and Creativity to Its Bid for Rye Playland

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State Fair Group wants to use its extensive experience to restore and improve PLAYLAND Park. One key element of State Fair Group’s proposal is operating a high-quality, family oriented amusement and event park.

Our thinking is to focus on ‘righting the PLAYLAND ship’, eliminating annual losses in the short term and creating a clear path to long-term sustainability, while leveraging the rich history of PLAYLAND, and implementing more innovative ideas over time

The State Fair Group of Belleville, NJ, is one of the 11 entities that submitted a proposal to the County of Westchester, N.Y., to reinvent PLAYLAND Amusement Park in Rye. State Fair Group wants to use its extensive experience to restore and improve PLAYLAND Park. One key element of State Fair Group’s proposal is operating a high‐quality, family oriented amusement and event park. The plan is positive and simple: Manage the Park like a business and pay attention to delivering a visitor experience of superb quality. By doing so, State Fair Group aims to eliminate the financial losses the county is incurring each year.

State Fair Group President Al Dorso says, “Even though the broader economy is still recovering, running a successful and thriving amusement venue is very simple. Detailed planning that is methodically implemented results in positive park visitor experiences. This operational model is an absolute necessity to sustain long‐term financial viability in today’s competitive entertainment marketplace. Our thinking is to focus on ‘righting the PLAYLAND ship’, eliminating annual losses in the short term and creating a clear path to long‐term sustainability, while leveraging the rich history of PLAYLAND, and implementing more innovative ideas over time.”

In its proposal, the State Fair Group values all aspects of the existing park and its original public purpose. The proposal recognizes the community and public appeal of PLAYLAND Park. The State Fair Group proposal does not promote or cater to the limited desires of special interest groups and also does not require any new development or construction. Capital funds utilized to restore the existing park will originate from ongoing, improved and/or special event operations.

State Fair Group has direct experience turning around amusement venues. When the organization took over management of State Fair Meadowlands in 2003, profitability was a serious concern, and the event wasn’t attracting the clientele it needed to in order to be fully successful. In the last 8 years, State Fair Group has grown the Fair and remained profitable, even through this most recent deep recessionary cycle. The group has made the Fair a much‐ loved event for families in the North Jersey metropolitan area.

State Fair Meadowlands is the largest fair in the New York metro area. The event encompasses 35 acres of fairgrounds and includes over 150 rides and attractions. The annual fair runs for 2 1⁄2 weeks at the end of June and into early July. This year, the Fair opens on June 24 and ends July 10. State Fair Meadowlands attracts over 400,000 visitors.

“We plan the entire year, construct the entire venue within a 10‐day period, operate for 2 1⁄2 weeks, and then spend two days taking it all down – leaving the fairgrounds in the neat condition we found it. Operating a seasonal park such as PLAYLAND in Westchester County would be a piece of cake for the State Fair Group team. Rye PLAYLAND is a Westchester New York treasure with a long history. It requires experience, creativity and a fresh energy to become economically viable in the long term. PLAYLAND is an ideal location where local families can enjoy the amusements in a safe, clean and meticulously maintained environment,” said Dorso.

State Fair Group also excels when it comes to traditional and social media marketing and promotions. “It’s our secret sauce,” added Dorso. “This is where the creativity really kicks in and makes a big difference in attracting and creating a loyal base of repeat patrons.”

The State Fair Group utilizes the latest in mobile marketing, social media marketing, community based integration, public relations, advertising and more, resulting in broad reach. The group also knows how to truly partner and develop lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with the surrounding community.

The group is also known for bringing affordable fun and quality entertainment to families as well as creating “events within an event” – a winning concept that is now widely adopted by others. For example, the State Fair Meadowlands features family‐friendly concerts and entertainment, helicopter rides, educational exhibits and a wide variety of mouthwatering food. For more, visit http://www.njfair.com.

The State Fair Group intends to leverage its creativity, along with its long history and deep knowledge in the family entertainment and event management industry to restore the pride and profits to PLAYLAND Park.

To review excerpts of the State Fair Group proposal, visit http://www.njfair.com/rye_playland.php Comments are welcome.

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Chris Faust
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